There is a very good chance that there is someone in your workplace with whom you do not get along very well. It doesn’t matter whether your workplace is an office, auto shop, retail location or another kind of business location, there are always going to be people who have attitude problems. It’s a risk that comes with any kind of employer that hires people with different backgrounds, opinions and values.
One of the most diverse work environments is the world of professional wrestling. Different types of wrestlers from various parts of the country competing not only in WWE but multiple companies around the world. When you have that type of talent pool, there are going to be diverse personalities that may or may not have conflicting attitudes. However, some are worse than others. Some are more noticeable now than the earlier days of wrestling with the emergence of social media as personal lives seem to be more transparent than ever before.
The following are 15 professional wrestlers who have let their attitudes affect their careers in the squared circle. Some still feel the effects from previous attitude problems and others have been able to turn it around to become well respected members of the wrestling community.
15 Teddy Hart
Attitude problems have plagued Teddy Hart for several years and for multiple wrestling promotions. About a year after being released from his WWE developmental contract due to alleged attitude problems, he was the focal point of controversy from Ring of Honor in November 2003 having to do with a cage match with multiple high-flyers. After his team lost the match, Hart climbed to the top of the cage and did multiple moonsaults to unsuspecting wrestlers.
Only a few months prior to the issues at Ring of Honor, he apparently had an altercation with CM Punk after a show with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. Hart would wrestle for multiple wrestling promotions throughout the independent circuit. He did have another chance with a developmental contract with WWE, but it only lasted about a year. There’s no question that Hart had a lot of talent as a young star, but he likely burned bridges from his unpopular decisions.
14 New Jack
If there was an official term like “ring rage” that was similar to what people mean when they refer to “road rage” on the busy freeways, New Jack might be the perfect example of someone with "ring rage." Having been one of the former stars of Extreme Championship Wrestling before the company folded, New Jack has a cult following of his own that is composed of hardcore wrestling fans who want to see a variety of different weapons used in the ring.
However, New Jack has often gone a little too far with problems in the ring. For starters, there is the “Mass Transit Incident” in 1996 where he gave an untrained 17-year-old injuries that needed 50 stitches (although the kid should have never convinced people he was a wrestler). Then there was the 2003 match with Gypsy Joe that involved several weapons because he wouldn’t sell New Jack’s offense. On top of all of that, there was a 2004 show in Florida where he stabbed someone multiple times in the ring.
Ryback hasn’t had the best run in the WWE since 2012. The man who has led “Feed Me More” chants at live events looks like he could soon be leaving the company after he has gone public with several criticisms about his position on the WWE card and also for wanting more money for his new contract. This came after he was sent home and kept off of WWE television because of disputes from recent contract negotiations earlier this year.
In addition to that, there have been several complaints about how Ryback has been under fire at the WWE for being reckless in the ring. The complaints range from spots within his feud with CM Punk to a concussion resulting from a stiff clothesline to Dolph Ziggler. If Ryback is leaving the WWE, he may benefit from a change in scenery by going to work for an international market like Japan or Mexico. He will just have to make sure to leave his attitude baggage in the U.S.
12 Ken Anderson
While he has definitely had a number of issues involving failed drug tests, steroid usage and injuries that led to his time ending with the WWE, it seems that he’s an open book with his fans. The departure from WWE led to him making a video blog on social media about what he was doing during the WWE-enforced 90-day “no compete” clause. But he also seemed to lack professionalism after his recent release from TNA Wrestling.
It was believed that a match with Eric Young scheduled to air earlier this year had to be pulled because he was suspected as being under the influence. He would confirm his departure at an independent show by saying “F*** TNA,” which was caught on video. Maybe Mr. Anderson doesn’t have issues as severe as some of the other wrestlers on this list, but his recent actions are signs of having a poor attitude.
11 AJ Lee
From her debut with the company in the third season of WWE’s NXT “reality show” to becoming one of the longest reigning Divas Champions in recent history, AJ Lee made her impact like no other WWE diva in the last seven years. But in early 2015, she decided to use social media to speak out about the lack of equal pay for male and female superstars in the company. The comment was in response to a tweet from Stephanie McMahon after she acknowledged Patricia Arquette speaking on women’s rights.
Sure, Lee was being an advocate herself. But her attitude led to a poor decision that may have otherwise hurt another talent’s standing in the company. Her attitude was revealed when she made a last minute decision to retire from the WWE after she was able to perform in a tag team match with Paige, a match that would have likely never happened if the company knew of her plans. There’s also the slight chance that Lee may have gained some inspiration to leave WWE from her husband, who will be mentioned later in this article.
10 The Miz
Sometimes, attitude can be a beneficial tool to driving one towards success, even when other people go against you. The early career in the WWE for The Miz started after he made a name for himself on reality television and then joined the Tough Enough competition reality show, where he would eventually lose to Daniel Puder.
However, he was confident in himself and he continued to work hard towards becoming a WWE Champion. Still, there were people who weren’t big fans of someone who seemed to be not as genuine about paying his dues like the others before him and the fans also made him a heel. By 2012 as he was reportedly transitioning from confident to obnoxious as he fell from the main event scene. He still has built up quite the resume so far with several tag team and singles titles, but may have lost some of the attitude that made him a WrestleMania main event star.
9 Matt Hardy
One of the greatest tag team wrestlers in the past 30 years was arguably broken before his recent transformation in TNA Wrestling. He was released in 2004 following controversy resulting from his learning that his long-time girlfriend Lita was dating another wrestler, Edge. He only made matters worse by taking continued shots at the company. While WWE decided to bring him back for an interesting story line against Edge, Hardy would make videos on his YouTube channel about how he wasn’t interested in working for the company anymore.
It’s one thing to not be happy about one’s status in a working environment, but it is highly questionable to make those types of statements public. Hardy even mentioned that he was actually trying to get fired in an effort to get his requested release from the WWE. After one failed run in TNA, it has taken a few years for him to find some success with his current program against Brother Nero (Jeff Hardy) with their “Final Deletion” match having drawn plenty of interest from wrestling fans worldwide.
During his final years with the WWE that included his main event match at WrestleMania 30, Batista portrayed someone with an attitude that was natural for a wrestling heel. But he also had this type of attitude back in 2006 when he was involved in a fight with veteran Booker T. The scuffle reportedly took place during a commercial shoot for an upcoming pay-per-view and the veteran was standing up and speaking to Batista about how he felt he was better than everyone else on the WWE roster.
It was believed to be scripted when the WWE website posted a story about the incident, but backstage sources would later confirm that it was an actual fight. It was a fight that led to many other wrestlers giving praise to Booker T for calling out Batista after he claimed he carried the WWE on his back. It’s safe to say there are likely a number of fans who would have agreed with Booker T at the time.
7 Randy Orton
Even before making a jump to professional wrestling, Randy Orton had some questionable attitude problems at a young age. The first issue came when he joined the U.S. Marines, an endeavor that ended poorly as he went absent from his post without intent (also known as going AWOL) that led to him spending some time in a military prison. But that young attitude also followed him through his early years at WWE as he had some issues with some of the female coworkers.
Former WWE Diva Rochelle Loewen apparently upset Orton when she didn’t know who he was. His anger continued and he apparently vindictively poured a combination of baby oil and lotion onto many of her belongings that she kept in the locker room. One would assume age would have eliminated his attitudes, but he apparently gained heat in 2014 for being accused of “crowd killing” during live event matches with Roman Reigns.
6 Muhammad Hassan
The character of Muhammad Hassan suffered a rather quick end mostly in part to terrorist attacks in London, England that led to many people demanding that he be taken off of television. It was an unfortunate end for someone that the WWE was hoping to build towards winning the World Heavyweight Championship that would have broken Randy Orton’s record for youngest WWE champion. However, it turns out that there were a number of backstage incidents that led to some people growing sour on the Arab American superstar.
One of those problems was that the then 24-year-old wrestler confronted Eddie Guerrero to tell him not to use the Camel Clutch submission hold since that was his finishing move. Naturally, Guerrero was angered by this given that Guererro’s father actually invented the move. It was later reported that Hassan tried to make amends by buying shots for other wrestlers, who declined the gesture. He would be released shortly after being written off television in 2005.
5 Lex Luger
Like many had done at one point during the rivalry with WCW, Lex Luger would let his contract with the WWE expire and decided to appear on the debut episode of Monday Nitro in 1995 without talking with any of the officials in Stamford, CT. It’s ironic because he had previously left the WWE due to having contract disputes, which led to him working the minimum amount of dates that his contract required between 1991 and 1992.
It was one of the many questionable decisions he made in his wrestling career. But that was the least of his problems as he had multiple issues with drugs and other personal issues. He was linked to a domestic abuse accusation that involved his girlfriend at the time (Elizabeth Hulette, also known as Miss Elizabeth). He was also accused of Miss Elizabeth’s death, though that was later ruled as an accidental overdose. The good news is that he was able to find faith and became a born-again Christian.
4 The Ultimate Warrior
The Ultimate Warrior definitely had a personality that was larger than life and fans who watched him in the 1990s would agree. But there were a number of situations that led to why he had more comebacks to the WWE than Michael Jordan had returns to the National Basketball Association – including a steroid scandal and practically holding the company hostage to get a $550,000 contract before competing at SummerSlam 1991. There was apparently further controversy when the WWE released him for his absence from house shows, not believing his excuse that the absences were because of the death of his father.
After a failed run in WCW and years of being quiet, the Warrior would post a video online featuring a rant wherein he essentially spent nearly an hour railing against Hulk Hogan and discussing his “reputation as a liar and a phony.” He was finally able to let go of his issues with the WWE and be inducted into the company’s Hall of Fame just before he suddenly passed away in 2014.
3 Hulk Hogan
Hulk Hogan was once one of the biggest stars not only in the world of professional wrestling, but in popular culture. Unfortunately, his name has been put in a negative light recently. While there are a number of stories that other wrestlers have shared about how Hogan has held wrestlers down in the past, the most recent scandals involve him using racially charged language and the release of a sex tape resulting in Hogan's lawsuit against the gossip website, Gawker.
These scandals led to Hogan being fired from WWE. The only time Hogan makes a television appearance now is when the court case with Gawker is being talked about in the news. Considering his age and the response from the videos being posted, it might be hard to imagine Hogan being able to come back to WWE in any type of fashion. Still, he would be awarded more than $100 million, as well as an additional $25 million in punitive damages from his lawsuit.
2 Shawn Michaels
The Heartbreak Kid is now a model citizen for those who have retired from professional wrestling, but he wasn’t always that way. He’s talked about his issues as a young, arrogant wrestler in the 1990s in his book Wrestling for my Life, and noted that all that changed when he came to find God in his Christian faith. However, there are still people who aren’t big fans of Michaels based on a number of incidents from the 1990s. This included the infamous Montreal Screwjob at the 1997 Survivor Series.
But Michaels was an angry person when he suffered from a serious back injury that led to his first retirement from wrestling in 1997. In an episode with Steve Austin on his podcast, they talked about the issues surrounding WrestleMania XIV with Michaels dropping the championship and retiring – he was angry and mean towards other wrestlers and the company. Luckily, he was able to find his smile again and retire on his terms after two consecutive WrestleMania matches with The Undertaker that are touted as some of the best.
1 CM Punk
Anyone who has ever tracked CM Punk from his independent days in the Midwest knows that he was someone who was more than willing to fire back at loud, obnoxious fans at smaller shows. He also portrayed confidence bordering on arrogance that he was one of the best wrestlers in the world, which was arguably true. His confidence was often considered a bad attitude that rubbed many people in WWE the wrong way. He also did not handle criticism well. Even when Punk was in Ohio Valley Wrestling, he took exception to veteran Tony Atlas’ negative remarks.
With his WWE contract expiring in 2011, Punk was given a live microphone where he allowed his attitude towards the company to go public. This led to the infamous “pipe bomb” promo where he said he once thought the WWE would have been better off with Vince McMahon gone, but wouldn’t be with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon being expected to take the reigns. Since then, he left the company in 2014 and made more comments on the Art of Wrestling podcast – divulging how unhappy he was with talents he felt were too stiff and the creative direction of the company.
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